Monday, October 25, 2010

1.7 Inches of Rain in Two Days

We had a big storm come in on Friday night. 1.7" of rain in two days, which for a place that only got about 7" of rain all year last winter, it's a lot. I guess we are really transitioning from fall into winter now. 34° this morning...brrrrrr...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another batch of dye painting

I've been busy washing out fabric this morning, drying on the line. Later I'll iron and take some proper photos, but I thought they looked great with the valley view.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eco Dyes

Last spring I played around a bit with eco dying after seeing some examples on the internet. I gathered together some cotton fabric, leaves, flowers, rusty metal, stones and crochet thread. I carefully placed the natural material on the cloth then folded it, wrapped it around a stone, bound it with crochet thread, and put the bundle into a jelly jar. I then filled the jars with soda ash solution and put them out in the sun on the front walk for about a month. When I finally opened them and unwrapped them I was amazed. I had a lot of nice patterning, which is what I was after, but lost most of it when I washed the fabrics out. I really like the subtle colors that I got from the maple leaves, black iris blooms, lupine, rose and cherry plum. I am really happy about the matching threads. I can't wait to try some stitching with these. Soon after the 'dying experiment' I purchased India Flint's excellent book EcoColour. What a wealth of info there. I need to go back and try this again, now that I know more....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More time passing...

Here's another little hand piece. The background is woven strips of cotton cloth which were secured with running stitches. I started pulling scraps from my batik bag just roughly sewing them in place with running stitch, whatever color of embroidery cotton I happened to lay my hands on. Another work in progress...slowly where? I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Passing time...

I usually have a couple of little hand sewing projects in process for when I know I'm going to waiting some place or riding in the car. I keep a small makeup bag with all the necessary sewing things and if I can fit it in, the project itself. I started this piece last winter when I was thinking about a new way of working.

I wanted to do a piece that would be a kind of diary or tell a story about what was going on in my life. Taking inspiration from Jude Hill, I started it on the blue moon last winter and have added to it a little at a time over the last year. I find that whenever I'm stressed or just feeling out of sorts, it feels good to make a cup of tea and sit in my big chair next to the window and put a few pieces of cloth and thread into this.

I plan to keep working on it, adding to it. I feel like it needs something from October so maybe leaves or pumpkins. Who knows? I didn't plant a garden this year and am really missing my pumpkins right about now. Maybe I can grow my own in this little world?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dye Experiments

Last month I got together with a couple friends for a fabric dying play day. I wanted to work on an idea that had been floating in my head for a while--how it would work to dye different already constructed fabric pieces vs. just flat yardage. Here's the results...

This piece is 100% cotton print cloth that I pieced then layered with a cotton batting and then ditch quilted. I soaked the finished piece in soda ash and then hung on the line to dry. A quick press with the iron and then I dye painted it. I'm quite happy with the look of the brush marks on this one.

This piece is of the same fabric but just not layered and quilted. I also like the look of this one.

This one I was less happy with, but it does have some potential. It's just a piece of the same flat yardage that I marked out a grid on with pencil.

I also painted on various small strips of fabric thinking that I would piece them afterwards, but there was a lot of fraying in the washout and I'm not sure the original idea would work. I've still yet to sew the pieces together so will show those when I do.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these. My thought was to stretch them on canvas stretcher bars and hang as a group of four. They all have 4" plain borders all the way around. Or maybe make pillows out of them or ??? Still playing around with ideas at this point.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally...the River Quilt

--Click to enlarge any photo--

I've been so busy with travel and other projects that I really haven't been keeping things as current here as I'd like. So over the next few days I'm going to try to fill in the gaps and show pictures of all the projects that have been keeping me busy, the biggest of which was 'The River Quilt'.

This project began a year ago when at the October 2009 meeting of the Rogue Art Quilters we signed up to be part of this project to create a 39 foot long quilt divided into 19 sections. We were each given an entrance and exit dimension on the left and right for the 'river' and then overall dimensions for the size of the piece which were variable by 6" either larger or smaller. A particular fabric was designated as the water portion in order for there to be some continuity between the pieces...i.e. to make them 'flow'. Other than that we were left to our own devices to create a river-themed work due on July 28, 2010.

I spent about 6 months just thinking about how I might want to construct the quilt and what kind of imagery I would want to use. Lucky for me, in August 2009 I spent several days in Sunriver, Oregon photographing the Deschutes River. At the time I had no idea what I was going to use the photos for, but I loved the colors, the light, and the feel of the area, and I immediately thought of that photo archive when this project came up. After studying the photos, I had a general idea of the colors and types of fabrics and threads I wanted to use, so I spent the remaining time casually shopping for fabrics and threads until I had pretty much everything I needed. I spent a week or so compositing several photos on the computer in Photoshop, playing with placements, colors, etc. and finally printed out a full-size road map for the quilt construction.

The actual construction started on May 1 and I finished on July 21. I tried to be vigilant about keeping the hours of work involved but there were a lot more than my worksheet total of 93! I decided to use raw edge applique since I thought it would be much more realistic looking and frankly, I was tired of piecing and working out paper piecing patterns. I wanted to be able to cut and utilize the parts of the fabric that would work best for my aim so I tried a new technique using a product called Liquid Thread vs. a sheet fusible web. Most of the fabrics are hand dyes or batiks. I basically started at the top and worked down, creating whole sections of trees, grass, sky, etc. then putting them together once all the pieces were created. This allowed me to make changes and to be able to redo any sections that I wasn't happy with. I did a lot of auditioning on the wall with various fabrics to get just the right colors and light. Since I was using photos from different times of day, shadows were very important to get correct once the construction began. Reflections in the water were also a concern. One of the most difficult portions was the near bank of dry weeds. There were several editions of this before the final one appeared after a stroke of insight involving cotton parcel twine, cheesecloth, acrylic paint, and thread. The entire piece was then pin basted and free-motion quilted using my own freehand designs and over 30 different colors of thread, including metallics. It was an intense 3 months but I really enjoyed this project and look forward to making more of these realistic pieces.